Biren Ghose, the Country Head of Technicolor India and Vice Chairman of CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment, has been a significant figure in the transformation of India’s digital creative industries for over two decades. With his extensive experience and remarkable professional journey, Biren Ghose offers valuable insights into the vision and potential of India’s Animation, VFX, and Gaming (AVGC) sectors. An AVGC Taskforce member, here are Biren Ghose’s insights on growth path for India’s Animation and VFX verticals.
Can you explain the significance of Annecy for India and how it can benefit the country?
In India, if I were to express my views, I would say the following about Annecy. Firstly, I firmly believe in the need to develop a vibrant culture of short films, and Annecy has exemplified this brilliantly. What truly captivates me about Annecy is its incorporation of short filmmakers into the competition. These filmmakers are bold, pushing boundaries, and constantly experimenting with new technologies.
Their innovations often pave the way for breakthroughs in larger film productions, where risks may not be as readily taken. Therefore, the role of short films cannot be underestimated in shaping the industry’s creative landscape.
Furthermore, Annecy serves as a dynamic meeting place for professionals in the AVGC sector, facilitating invaluable networking opportunities. It has evolved into a global hub where talent from countries like France is acknowledged and celebrated on a worldwide scale.
ANNECY SERVES AS A DYNAMIC MEETING PLACE FOR PROFESSIONALS IN THE AVGC SECTOR, FACILITATING INVALUABLE NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES. IT HAS EVOLVED INTO A GLOBAL HUB WHERE TALENT FROM COUNTRIES LIKE FRANCE IS ACKNOWLEDGED AND CELEBRATED ON A WORLDWIDE SCALE
Inspired by Annecy’s success, I am a staunch advocate for establishing a similar event in India, creating a platform that showcases our immense talent and potential to the world. Alongside this event, I envision organizing a summit akin to the CII Summit FX, functioning as a major marketplace where industry professionals can connect, collaborate, and forge formal partnerships. The potential for such partnerships is evident as Annecy is already seeking collaboration with AniMela in Mumbai, further cementing the importance of international cooperation.
To enhance the progression and recognition of Indian talent, it would be immensely beneficial for the winners of the initial competition in India to gain automatic entry into the Annecy competition. This seamless progression would provide our filmmakers with an international stage to showcase their work, garner exposure, and propel their careers. Such integration with Annecy’s esteemed competition would undoubtedly fuel the growth and reputation of the Indian AVGC industry.
Can you elaborate on how the government’s agenda of showcasing India’s creative economy to the world aligns with the overall strategy of “Create in India, Make for the World”?
Absolutely. The government’s agenda to showcase India’s creative economy to the world, as part of the “Create in India, Make for the World” strategy, holds significant importance. This powerful tagline will be utilized throughout the year to underscore India’s potential as a thriving hub for innovation and production. From this standpoint, several crucial points come to the forefront.
First and foremost, the government’s focus on highlighting India’s creative economy reflects its unwavering commitment to nurturing and promoting the country’s abundant talent and expertise across diverse creative fields. This encompasses industries ranging from design, arts, entertainment, media, to technology.
Secondly, by spotlighting India’s creative economy, the government aims to attract global attention and investment. By positioning India as an enticing destination for creative and innovative industries, it becomes highly appealing to multinational companies and investors seeking to leverage the country’s rich pool of talent and abundant resources.
Moreover, the government’s emphasis on the creative economy aligns seamlessly with the broader objective of the “Create in India, Make for the World” strategy. This overarching strategy aims to stimulate domestic production and manufacturing, while concurrently ensuring that the products and services originating from India meet and surpass global standards. By fostering the growth of the creative economy, the government is cultivating an environment conducive to the flourishing of ideas and the development of innovative products, catering to both domestic and international markets.
The AVGC sector is seen as a vehicle to make India a global content leader. What are your thoughts on this?
The AVGC sector in India possesses the remarkable potential to propel the nation into a position of global content leadership. Looking back two decades ago, animation and VFX were nascent industries, contributing to less than 1% of the overall revenues. However, today, we witness a remarkable transformation. These sectors have undergone substantial growth, showcasing higher revenue generation, improved profit outcomes, and faster growth rates when compared to the traditional film sector. In fact, the AVGC segment has outgrown the film industry in recent years, signifying a pivotal shift that sets the stage for India to emerge as a true global powerhouse in content creation. This ascent not only marks the sector’s extraordinary development but also heralds a new era of opportunities for Indian talent to showcase their creative prowess and captivate audiences on a global scale. With the right support, investment, and strategic nurturing, the AVGC sector can undoubtedly drive India’s rise as a trailblazing leader in content creation, leaving an indelible impact on the world stage.
India’s rapid rise to eminence as the “digital engine room” for the world, when it comes to production of movies, episodic and short film content. That’s the emerging India edge. It is with this growing confidence and pride that we are positioning India as the “wind in the sails’ of content creators through technology enablement. As technology has democratized consumption so also has it helped to consolidate production.
How can we leverage curiosity and capitalize on it to further enhance the AVGC sector?
Curiosity plays a crucial role in storytelling and media engagement. Consumers, like children, are always seeking something new and exciting. As storytellers, it is our responsibility to comprehend this innate desire for novelty and create content that truly mesmerizes and captivates their attention. By effectively addressing and embracing curiosity in our AVGC strategies, we have the power to propel the industry to unprecedented heights. This unwavering thirst for new experiences and excitement can be harnessed as a catalyst to fuel the growth and expansion of the AVGC sector. By consistently pushing the boundaries of imagination, incorporating innovative technologies, and crafting narratives that ignite curiosity, we can forge deep connections with our audience and create unforgettable experiences that transcend the boundaries of traditional storytelling.
At Technicolor Creative Studios, that is exactly what we do. We take the curiosity of consumers and channel it into our creative endeavours. Through cutting-edge technologies, expertise in storytelling, and a culture of innovation, we have delivered content one after another that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of our audience, such as Paramount Pictures’ Top Gun: Maverick, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book and Lion King, Warner Bros. Pictures’ Elvis, HBO’s House of the Dragon, and many more.
What are the key factors that have contributed to the success of the AVGC sector in India?
The success of the AVGC sector in India can be attributed to various factors, each contributing to its rapid growth and recognition on the global stage. One of the key factors is the abundance of talent in the country. India has a rich pool of creative individuals who possess a deep understanding of storytelling, visual aesthetics, and technical skills. The development of creative visualization and specialized craft disciplines has further nurtured this talent, allowing them to create high-quality and visually stunning content that rivals international standards.
BY CONSISTENTLY PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF IMAGINATION, INCORPORATING INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES, AND CRAFTING NARRATIVES THAT IGNITE CURIOSITY, WE CAN FORGE DEEP CONNECTIONS WITH OUR AUDIENCE AND CREATE UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES THAT TRANSCEND THE BOUNDARIES OF TRADITIONAL STORYTELLING
In addition to talent, technology has played a pivotal role in propelling the AVGC sector forward. India’s advancements in technology have not only facilitated the creation of visually captivating content but have also provided a platform for innovation and experimentation. Creativity and storytelling are the lifeblood of the AVGC industry. India’s rich cultural heritage, diverse narratives, and deeprooted storytelling traditions have provided a unique foundation for creating compelling and immersive content. The fusion of traditional storytelling techniques with modern visual effects and animation has given rise to a distinct and globally recognized style.
Moreover, innovation has been a driving force behind the growth of the AVGC sector in India. Companies like Technicolor have played a significant role in showcasing India’s potential as a global content creation hub. We have as a company started at a mere 500 artists in India have now moved to 7000 creative technicians, artists, creative producers, animators, VFX and CG artists, to create a cohesive ecosystem that fuels out one amazing project after another. Take the Oscar winning Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio or the BAFTA Television Craft Awards for HBO’s House of the Dragon both had a large number of Indian talent and force creating magic for the big screen. It isn’t true that we are merely manpower. That is a myth surrounding the Indian AVGC sector.
INDIA’S RICH CULTURAL HERITAGE, DIVERSE NARRATIVES, AND DEEP ROOTED STORYTELLING TRADITIONS HAVE PROVIDED A UNIQUE FOUNDATION FOR CREATING COMPELLING AND IMMERSIVE CONTENT. THE FUSION OF TRADITIONAL STORYTELLING TECHNIQUES WITH MODERN VISUAL EFFECTS AND ANIMATION HAS GIVEN RISE TO A DISTINCT AND GLOBALLY RECOGNIZED STYLE
How can we dispel the myths surrounding the Indian AVGC sector?
There are several myths that need to be debunked about the Indian AVGC sector. Firstly, it is not merely a manpower industry but rather about talent and the development of creative visualization. It encompasses various specialized lines of craft, such as modelling, texturing, rigging, animation, lighting, and compositing, which serve as the foundation for design and content creation across industries.
Secondly, the notion that the AVGC sector is only a back-end service provider is outdated. India is producing high-end to-end world-class computer graphics, delivering projects globally. The sector’s capabilities need to be harnessed through a proposed AVGC mission that reimagines how India can undertake ambitious projects and elevate its global standing.
Lastly, it is a misconception that the AVGC sector lacks the ability to design and deliver world-class content. The challenge lies in monetizing what is produced by establishing global-scale distribution networks. Collaboration between the government and the industry is essential to create incubation centers that foster innovation, develop new technologies, and provide resources to Indian talent, reducing dependence on expensive international resources.
How can we overcome the challenges of distribution and monetization in the AVGC sector?
While we have the ability to design and deliver world-class content, distribution and monetization remain key challenges. We need to create incubation centers and foster innovation to develop new production methodologies and tools. These platforms will foster collaboration, research, and the development of new production methodologies and tools, driving industry growth and enhancing distribution and monetization capabilities.
In addition, leveraging India’s rich cultural assets, such as food, fashion, spirituality, and technology, can be a game-changer for monetizing Indian AVGC content globally and locally. Tapping into these cultural elements allows content creators to produce resonant and immersive experiences that captivate global audiences.
Effective monetization requires collaboration between various key stakeholders. Establishing a collaborative network between governments, Industry, International contingencies and global festivals like Annecy can create opportunities and platforms for showcasing and distributing Indian AVGC content worldwide.
How can technology and innovation further propel the AVGC sector?
Technology and innovation play a pivotal role in the AVGC sector’s growth. India has already demonstrated its capabilities in creative technology production, such as virtual production in VFX. The advancement of new technologies like AI and virtual reality presents opportunities to create groundbreaking content for both India and the global audience. Embracing these emerging fields and fostering cross industry collaborations will unleash the full potential of the AVGC industry and open up new avenues for immersive experiences.
How has cloud computing and new tools and technologies facilitated the ability of medium and small-scale industries to achieve global delivery?
The point is that the medium and smallscale industries today are able to create global delivery, thanks to cloud computing and the new tools and technologies that are emerging. The fourth point pertains to the startup ecosystem, particularly in areas like this, where we are witnessing both multinationals finding it ideal to operate in India, and venture capital flowing into this field to alleviate the struggles and constraints faced by entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the hybrid way of working enables people to tap into India’s vast geography. Additionally, the industry has come together, signifying its maturation as various industries, government, and academia collaborate for policy formulation and other initiatives. There is a united front on this matter. It is also important to acknowledge that while there is a growing emphasis on IP development and local content, the international services business remains the primary engine for talent development, accounting for 70 to 75% of the revenues. These revenues contribute to funding technology, infrastructure, talent development, and other aspects.
What does the future hold for the AVGC industry in India?
The future of the AVGC industry in India is brimming with possibilities. Creative entrepreneurs will have access to more resources and support to bring their visions to life. Cross-industry collaborations, such as merging healthcare and entertainment to provide immersive experiences for patients, hold great potential. As leaders in the AVGC sector, it is our responsibility to embrace innovation and collaboration, leverage new technologies, and seize the opportunities that lie ahead to position India as a global content leader.